–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–
Jamie Garuti, Communications Manager
Local business leaders gather at State House to advocate for a price on carbon pollution
Boston, Massachusetts – March 28, 2017 – Dozens of Massachusetts business leaders gathered at the State House today to meet with legislators to express their support for a statewide fee on carbon. Organized by the Climate Action Business Association, the Business Carbon Pricing Lobby Day aimed to promote carbon pricing bills S. 1821 and H.1726.
Both bills would levy a fee on fossil fuels once they enter the state, incentivizing a shift to clean energy. S.1821, sponsored by Senator Mike Barrett, rebates 100% of the revenue generated from the fee back to households and businesses. Representative Jen Benson’s bill, H.1726, reinvests 20% of the revenue into a Green Infrastructure Fund (GIF), and returns 80% back to households and businesses. The GIF will be used to fund energy efficiency for low-income households, resiliency and climate change adaptation measures, and public transportation. Together, the bills have 80 co-sponsors, more than one-third of the legislature.
Lobby Day participants came from a variety of industries, from clean tech to web development to investment management. A common thread among attendees was viewing carbon pricing as not just a tool to mitigate climate change, but also as a way to spur the innovation economy.
Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Boston-based EnergySage said, “EnergySage is proud to be one of many business in support of putting a price on carbon pollution. Doing so will help drive development of renewables, benefit the local economy, and lower energy costs for Massachusetts residents and businesses in the long term.”
Unlike traditional environmental regulations that force strict controls and only cover certain industries, carbon pricing allows for flexibility in the transition to clean energy while covering the entire economy. At the same time, because Massachusetts imports all of our fossil fuels, carbon pricing would encourage us to only use home-grown energy, helping to keep money in the local economy and subsequently boosting communities and businesses.
“Businesses understand that a healthy community means a healthy economy,” explained Climate Action Business Association’s Executive Director, Michael Green. “By advocating for a price on carbon, they can lead with their values, engaging both their workforce and the public.”
The businesses involved in Lobby Day are all members of Climate Action Business Association (CABA), a Boston-based organization that helps local businesses take targeted action on climate change. In a time when businesses are feeling more emboldened to represent their independent values, CABA members see engaging in political advocacy around climate change as a way to distinguish themselves as leaders in the community.
In addition to support for carbon pricing from the business community, a broad coalition of groups are working to push the legislation forward. With national conversations of a Republican-proposed price on carbon, the groups believe that carbon pricing is a bipartisan policy capable of receiving widespread support. A hearing on Senator Barrett’s carbon pricing bill in 2015 drew a packed room of policy experts, economists, faith leaders, civic groups, and environmental groups testifying in support of the policy. The groups say that the policy is only gaining momentum.